For nearly 50 years, Title X has funded family planning services for low-income individuals throughout the US. In 2018 alone, nearly 4 million patients received care at a Title X-funded clinic.
In March 2019, the Trump Administration announced sweeping changes to the program, collectively called a “gag rule” by critics. Recipient clinics are now prohibited from offering abortion referrals and must demonstrate financial and physical separation from abortion care. Doctors must refer all pregnant patients for prenatal care–regardless of the patients’ wishes. Many Title X-funded organizations and clinics argue the rule interferes with the provider-patient relationship, forcing doctors to withhold relevant medical information. Title X has never funded abortions.
As seen on the map from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 23% of all Title X clinics (marked pink and blue) declared they will refuse Title X funding instead of complying with the rule. This represents 910 clinics, including 410 Planned Parenthood facilities. More Planned Parenthood affiliates are expected to withdraw.
The impact of these changes is unknown. While Planned Parenthood has repeatedly stated their clinics will remain open, other organizations that do not have a deep fundraising base will scale back services or close completely; some may be replaced by pro-life crisis pregnancy centers. For millions of American women, the gag rule could impose an impossible choice: accept limited and potentially misleading care or forgo family planning altogether.
Databyte via Office of Population Affairs’ Title X Family Planning Directory, Kaiser Family Foundation, June 2019.